Change Agents, City Transformation, Job Engines, Mass Transit, News

M1-Rail funded! Light rail to return to the streets of Detroit

Ray LaHood at M1Rail Light Rail Mass Transit Announcement at Wayne State in Detroit

Transformation. Economic engine. Investment.

These were just a few of the words used repetitively to describe the now funded M1 Rail project which will be the first leg of a complete transit system under the new Regional Transit Authority (RTA).

Ray LaHood at M1Rail Light Rail Mass Transit Announcement at Wayne State in DetroitTransportation Secretary Ray LaHood was flanked by a who’s who of Detroit regional public, private and non-profit people in a rare but hopefully more oft-seen sign of regional unity and strength as he announced $25 million in federal funding for M1 Rail as well as $6.5 million to do engineering and studies on the Regional Transit Authority.

The project is expected to create approximately 2000 jobs.

This initial $31.5 million provided by the feds is only the beginning. “We will back with announcements for more … you will have a state-of-the-art Regional Transit Authority,” said LaHood.

We only need to look to our neighbors to the south to see where mass transit has made monumental difference.

“Over $4.3 billion dollars of real estate investment has happened along Euclid,” in Cleveland, said Representative Gary Peters, whose district covers a wide swath of Metro Detroit. He went on to talk about how the $200 million transit project along that avenue was the catalyst for transformation, bringing in more residents and jobs.

Rip Rapson, president and CEO of the Kresge Foundation, talked about how this private/public partnership is making mass transit across Detroit possible. “The rail project will provide the funding match to open the lock for the regional transit system,” he says.

“There’s no other city in America that has had a business community that has stepped up and raised $100 million” for mass transit, said LaHood. “This is going to be in the history books.”

M1 Rail should be running down Woodward in late 2015 and shovels will be in the ground this summer.


M1 Rail Detroit route map

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5 comments on “M1-Rail funded! Light rail to return to the streets of Detroit

  1. I'm so thankful for this blessing that has been sent too Detroit because Detroit has been getting a bad rap and now there's something good is about to happen for a change. What carrers will there be for employment with this rail? and when

  2. This isn't light rail, the project being funded is slow-running streetcars down the side of Woodward Avenue.
    The light rail plan everyone was excited about would have been down the middle of Woodward all the way to Pontiac. This plan runs for ~3 miles (similar line length to the People Mover) from Downtown to Grand Blvd along Woodward, representing only a one minute improvement in headway.

  3. Denver started with just one small section of rail, now it has one of the best, and still growing light rail systems in America….your attitude is why detroit doesn't have mass transit…..think about that for one moment, then harness your negative energy and put that same energy into becoming involved in a positive manner in your community!

  4. I don't mean to be racist, but if Detroit residents start riding this rail system then it is doomed. Why is it that suburban (white or black) residents don't ride D-Dot or SMART? Because they don't feel at all safe riding them. If you allow muggings and fist fights to break out on this rail system, it will be a financial ruin in no time.

    This rail system needs to be a suburban friendly system. People from Canton Township, Novi, Farmington, Auburn Hills, Bingham Farms, Allan Park, Wyondotte, etc. aren't going to ride D-Dot 2.0. They're going to want routes that take them to place they work and spend money (Southfield and 696 corridor, Downtown Detroit, Midtown, etc), entertainment and major shopping venues and ultimately back home. They want comfortable seating and a reasonable fare charged to ride on it. Most of all though, they are going to want their safety ensured.

    In order to make it financially viable, efficient and suburban friendly it has to go all over the place like Chicago's L-Train. It must touch all major suburbs from Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. In order to make it safe it is going to need either hired security, a fare that prices out the poor or a route that avoid stops in troubled areas (Inkster, Pontiac, Mt. Clemons, etc.). Play the race card all you want on me, I'm just saying what nearly every suburbanite, white or black, will be thinking.

    I'm hoping for a nice mass transit system here in Detroit one day. Given the track record though, People Mover, SMART, D-Dot, my hopes aren't getting that high. Let the "I'm an incentive racist/bigot" comments begin.

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